Near absence of differential gene expression in the retina of rainbow trout after exposure to a magnetic pulse: implications for magnetoreception.
The ability to perceive the Earth's magnetic field, or magnetoreception, exists in numerous animals. Although the mechanism underlying magnetoreception has not been clearly established in any species, in salmonid fish, it is hypothesized to occur by means of crystals of magnetite associated with nervous tissue such as the brain, olfactory organ or retina. In this study, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed to a brief magnetic pulse known to disrupt magnetic orientation behaviour in several animals. Changes in gene expression induced by the pulse were then examined in the retina. Analyses indicated that the pulse elicited differential expression of only a single gene, gamma-crystallin M3-like (crygm3). The near absence of an effect of the magnetic pulse on gene expression in the retina stands in sharp contrast to a recent study in which 181 genes were differentially expressed in brain tissue of O. mykiss after exposure to the same pulse. Overall, our results suggest either that magnetite-based magnetoreceptors in trout are not located in the retina, or else that they are unaffected by magnetic pulses that can disrupt magnetic orientation behaviour in animals.
Fitak, RR; Schweikert, LE; Wheeler, BR; Ernst, DA; Lohmann, KJ; Johnsen, S
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